Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP)

One of the more challenging problems facing the Department of Natural Resources is providing public recreational access and outdoor opportunities to our constituents. In order to carry on our outdoor traditions, we need to connect youth and families to land and opportunities. Utilizing resources obtained through a grant from the US Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, Illinoisans have more places to enjoy the great outdoors through IDNR's new Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP). IRAP will increase public outdoor recreational opportunities on private lands through payments to eligible land owners who agree to up to a three-year lease for one or more of the following IRAP activities:

In addition, and very important, are incentive payments that will be made for habitat management plans written by IDNR on IRAP-leased property, as well as a stipend to the landowner based on activities.

It's a "win-win" for the landowner, wildlife and IRAP participant!

IRAP began signing up landowners in late 2011. Within the first ten months, almost 11,000 acres have been leased!

Want to be an IRAP Participant? Register and Make Reservations Here


IRAP is leasing ponds, impoundments and stream banks along public waterways from private landowners and making access available for the general public. Fishing is a great way to spend quality time with your family and friends. It is a fulfilling experience when you see a child's eyes light up when he catches a bluegill!

Available sites are listed on the IRAP Pond Site Map and Stream Bank Site Map. See below on how to become an IRAP participant so you can fish these areas.

Non-Motorized Boat Launch

IRAP is leasing land from private landowners along public waterways and making it available for non-motorized boat launch access sites for the general public. Canoeing, kayaking and rafting is a fun, family-friendly activity and a great way to relax while sightseeing along many of Illinois public waterways. Paddling down a river lets you share the wonders of nature. For tips and information on paddle boating visit IDNR's website.

Available launch sites are listed on the IRAP Site Map. Below is information on how to become an IRAP participant to access these sites.

Fishing Activities and Non-Motorized Boat Launching on IRAP leased sites are available for public access:

How It Works

  1. A participant must first register online (coming soon) and receive an IRAP participant ID Number.
  2. During the registration process, the participant must agree to and sign the Liability Waiver.
  3. Once the IRAP participant is registered, he or she may go to IRAP's reservation system and make up to three reservations for fishing sites or make up to three reservations for non-motorized boat launch sites.
  4. When a reservation is complete, you will be instructed to print your IRAP Reservation Permit for your vehicle and a smaller one to carry on your person.
  5. If a family or group is participating in the same activity at the same site and day, all participants over the age of five must register.

Want to be an IRAP Participant? Register and Make Reservations Here

Landowner Information – to become an IRAP leased property
Eligibility Map – IRAP eligible counties
Enrollment Form – IRAP landowner enrollment form

IRAP access is provided through cooperation of private landowners and the IL Dept of Natural Resources.
Participating in this program is a special privilege.
Please be respectful, ethical and safe.
Leave site as you found it – Take ALL garbage with you.
Park vehicle in designated parking area.